Feb 24 2012

PETA went down to Georgia

Valerie Hayes

Think PETA cares about homeless pets?

Think again.

Let me get my violin.

PETA went down to Georgia, they were looking for some souls to steal.
Ingrid’s in a bind ‘cos she’s way behind and she’s willin’ to make a deal.
When she came across some people savin’ animals and bloggin’ on the ‘net.
So she jumped up on a Piggly Wiggly dumpster and said: “Mayor, let me tell you what:
“I guess you didn’t know it, but I’m an animal killer too.
“And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you.
“Now you tell some a pretty good lies, Mayor, but give Old Ingrid her due:
“I bet a needle of gold against your soul, ‘cos I think I’m better than you.”
The people said: “We’re just regular folks, and it might be a sin,
“But if she takes your bet, she’s gonna regret, ‘cos we’re the best that’s ever been.”

Mayor, you do your “research” and fight those advocates hard.
‘Cos hell’s broke loose in Georgia and the PETA don’t deal the cards.
And if you win you get this shiny needle made of gold.
But if you lose, well, either way, the Butcher of Norfolk gets your soul.

Old Ingrid opened up her case and she said: “I’ll start this show.”
And fire flew from her fingertips as she pulled up the blue juice, you know.
Then she pushed the plunger down and it made an evil hiss.
And a band of morons joined in and it sounded something like this:

[Hoarders! Dogfighters! Irresponsible public! Pit bulls! Feral cats! Pet overpopulation! We have to kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! KILL!!!]

When she’d finished, the people said: “Well, if it was about money, you’dve won.
“But sit down in that chair, right there, and let us show you how it’s done.”

Feral cats in the community?  T-N-R
Puppies in homes gettin’ foster care.
Volunteers at an offsite, adoptin’ out pets.
“Boss, are we done now?”
“No, not, yet.”

Old Ingrid wouldn’t bow her head, couldn’t admit that she’d been beat.
She snatched that golden needle from the ground at the Mayor’s feet.
The people said: “PETA, just come on back if you ever want to try again.
‘cause we done told you once, you son of a bitch (no offense to female dogs), we’re the best that’s ever been.”

And they went: Feral cats in the community? T-N-R
Puppies in homes gettin’ foster care.
Volunteers at an offsite, adoptin’ out pets.
“Boss, are we done now?”
“No, not, yet.”

"I bet a needle of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm better than you."

"I bet a needle of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm better than you."

With apologies to the great Charlie Daniels.

Feb 24 2012

Truth is stranger than fiction, or: When a Georgia politician cites PETA as a reason to kill shelter pets

Valerie Hayes

“The most potent and cost-effective outreach vehicle is the development of a creative volunteer program. Were shelters to place a high priority on this area through attracting, training, and skillfully utilizing a volunteer outreach corps, they could begin the transition from killing site to a community resource center. A true shelter should be a place where life is affirmed, both in teaching and practice, not a building permeated with the odor of death”  ~Ed Duvin, “In the name of mercy,” 1989


Lexie was killed in Columbus, GA this week despite being friendly and having an adoption committment.

PETA has some advice for communities looking to end the population-control killing of homeless pets:  keep right on killing.

My head hurts.  My heart hurts.  I am not surprised.

Some weeks have a theme.  This week’s theme has been cognitive dissonance, that feeling you get when presented with inconceivably mind-bending scenarios. It can lead to a search for answers, a further exploration and questioning of oneself and the world, to a desire to reshape the world and oneself, or it can lead to a distortion of thought, forcing it to fit where it does not.  What you choose to do with it makes all the difference in the world.

To become a No Kill advocate is to step through the looking glass of animal welfare, into a world where what is is so often the opposite of what is logical, just, and common sense.  Every day is filled with cognitive dissonance.  Killing is kindness.  Nobody wants to kill, yet shelters kill 3-4 million pets every year—half of all they take in.  Shelters kill animals with rescue on the way.  People calling themselves animal lovers make excuses for these things.  Killing healthy and treatable and friendly pets is “euthanasia.”  We call the places that do the killing “shelters.”  Pets are labeled “unwanted,” blaming them for their own killing.  And so on, and so on.

And the organization billing itself as the “largest animal rights organization in the world,” the one known for extremism in advocating against the wearing of fur, the eating of meat, and the testing of cosmetics on animals, the one known for its founder’s statement that “animals are not ours to eat, wear or experiment on,” the one for which no ad campaign in the name of veganism is too tasteless, makes excuses for the killing of homeless pets, advocates the killing of homeless pets, and kills thousands of homeless pets every year.

How do “animal rights” and “needless killing” manage to peacefully coexist within the same organization and within the individuals that comprise it?  The right to live is fundamental to all others.  Without that, there are no other rights.  How are they unable to see the hypocrisy of this, even when it is pointed out to them repeatedly, even when the evidence piles as high as the stack of dead bodies in that infamous walk-in freezer?  How do they recognize the role cognitive dissonance plays in how other people justify what they do to animals, choosing to keep the same old beliefs when confronted with conflicting information, yet can’t see it in themselves?

Up is down and black is white.

The excuses are a slow-moving target, but a moving target nonetheless.  There’s the irresponsible public, which has enjoyed perhaps the longest popularity–over 35 years; pet overpopulation, another classic; and, more recently the notion that animal rescue is often a front for hoarding and dog fighting has been on the ascent, perhaps as the previous two are losing some of their old appeal.  These excuses all have a few things in common—they are false—myths created from gross exaggerations and deliberate misrepresentations, but with small grains of truth that have given them traction.  A minority of pet owners are irresponsible, that is true, and those who work in shelters or rescue will see a disproportionate number of this minority, but that is not why shelters kill.  There are a lot of homeless animals, but that is not the same thing as ‘overpopulation.’  Hoarding and dog fighting exist, but to say that they are epidemic in animal rescue is nothing but a lie concocted to serve a nefarious purpose.

Hoarding is a mental illness, and hoarding of animals is a relatively rare mental illness.  Mental health experts have yet to reach a consensus as to its underlying cause.  Animal hoarding cases receive an increasing amount of media attention because they are so freakish and unusual.  A search of the Pet-Abuse website, a site that tracks all manner of cases of pet abuse, for hoarding cases* with the keyword ‘Georgia’ yielded 12 cases in the entire state in over 10 years.  Of those, two involved rescue—one was a volunteer (but not a foster care volunteer) at a rescue, the other, was the Loonie Farms case.

The state of Georgia, unlike many, requires that animal shelters and rescues be licensed and inspected by the Department of Agriculture.  There are currently over 400 nonprofit rescue groups licensed in Georgia.  Suffice to say, that rescue hoarding is very, very rare.

Shelter killing is commonplace.  A report prepared by the Georgia Voters for Animal Welfare estimates that Georgia’s taxpayer-funded animal control shelters kill 62% of the animals they take in–260,000 dogs and cats every year, so in the past 10 years, Georgia shelters killed upwards of 2.6 million animals. (The overall trend nationwide is that killing is declining, so would likely have been even higher in the years prior to the GVAW report.)  Many thousands of animals die in Georgia shelters for every one that may end up in these bad rescue situations.

And how many dogfighters would want to get a rescue license from the Department of Agriculture and deal with paperwork and inspections so that they could pull animals from shelters when they could steal them or get them from ‘free-to-good homes’ ads?  Clearly these risks are grossly overstated.

Which brings me to a letter sent from PETA to Mayor Teresa Tomlinson of Columbus, GA.  You can read it by clicking here.  Apparently the No kill advocacy going on in Columbus caught PETA’s attention and they wanted to offer the beleaguered mayor some advice that only an organization that kills nearly every animal they get their hands on can.  They hope their letter finds her well.  They always hope their letters find the recipient well.  It’s like they don’t have the social skills or brainpower to come up with a different opening line.

Things have been heating up in Columbus in recent months as a growing number of its citizens become aware of the mismanagement and rampant killing there, and of the fact that there is a better way.  This past week a dog named Lexie was killed despite having an adoption commitment.  Further background on the Columbus situation is available here, here, and here.  The local TV station aired this piece recently, and the public response to it led to another one airing February 22 in which the Mayor cited this letter from PETA as support for her claim that not killing would be harmful to animals.

And this during not just any week, but the very week that PETA’s own kill stats for 2011 were released.  PETA kills the animals it seeks out and takes in to its Bates Motel for pets so-called shelter (they alternately refer to it as a ‘shelter’ or an ‘office building,’ depending on the situation) at a rate of 97%–far worse than all but a handful of Georgia animal controls.  This is despite, or perhaps because of its budget of over $30 million.  Bill yourself as a champion of rights, build a relentless publicity machine, and you too can get away with murder.

In 2011, PETA took in 2029 animals (mostly dogs and cats, and some “other” animals such as rabbits) “for purpose of adoption.”  They killed 1965 of them.  Only 28 were adopted and 11 reclaimed. PETA transferred 34 to kill shelters, where they may or may not have been adopted and other animals may or may not have been killed to make room for them.  PETA’s adoption rate in 2011 was 1.4%.  One-point-four percent. 97% went on to occupy the walk-in freezer in PETA’s headquarters.  Keep in mind that over 90% of pets entering shelters are healthy or treatable, and there is no evidence that the pets taken in and killed by PETA are any different.  PETA has been consistently unable to produce evidence otherwise, even when pointedly asked.

PETA would prefer that the status quo continue.  Though they apparently aren’t aware that rescues are licensed and inspected in GA, they disparage concerned citizens, animal rescuers and  No Kill advocates (some of whom are or have been shelter directors themselves) as “individuals and groups unfamiliar with the inner workings of animal care and control facilities (or the daily challenges and heartbreaks that shelter workers face).”  Really?  What is it about these “inner workings” that cannot be understood by ordinary people not inducted into the mysteries?  They don’t explain that but present a collection of straw men, falsehoods and a couple of articles, one of them poorly written fear mongering about hoarding, the other one they apparently didn’t read very carefully.  It concludes with the story of how Best Friends, perhaps the best-known no-kill animal sanctuary in the country, and host of the annual No More Homeless Pets Conference, orchestrated rescue and adoption for the hundreds of feline victims of the FLOCK hoarding case in Pahrump, NV.

They cite cases where No Kill has not succeeded, but fail to mention that none of those were following the No Kill Equation, the only proven method for ending population control killing in open-admission shelters.  They ignore the growing list of communities where No Kill is succeeding—28 as of this writing.  They ignore that we have known that it can be done for almost 11 years.

The letter is signed by Jennifer Brown, who notes that she can be reached at (630)966-8895 or JenniferB@peta.org.

On one side we have the product of the nation’s oldest animal welfare organization, the ASPCA’s Tactics of the Extremist Agenda, and on the other the product of an organization over 100 years younger, one that prides itself on being seen as extremist in the name of animal rights, yet which kills and rehashes excuses for killing that mostly date from before it was founded.  PETA has nothing of substance to offer.  It is weak, derivative and backward, trading off the false image it has crafted.

Why would anyone want to take advice (and say so on TV!) on animal sheltering from an organization, which, despite a budget of over $30 million, has an even worse kill rate than all but a very few in Georgia?  Why align oneself with an organization that is unpopular with those who don’t care about animals and is doubly so with informed people who care about homeless pets?  Why do so while claiming to be “the most progressive”?  That is not a winning situation no matter how you look at it.

PETA anti-TNR ad

PETA uses lies to try to prevent a bill that would clarify that TNR, the most humane and effective way of managing feral cat populations, is not prohibited in Virginia.

Ed Duvin, who sparked the No Kill movement with his 1989 essay “In the Name of Mercy,” could have been rebutting PETA’s campaign against the No Kill movement in general, and against Virginia’s S.B 359 in particular when he wrote “Speciesism:  Alive and Well”.  Heck, I hope this finds them well:

“Instead of recognizing our movement’s historical and contemporary role in this holocaust, many leaders continue to rationalize it on the basis of a “humane” death being preferable to a “miserable” life – further arguing that we are best able to provide this “merciful” end. Desperate humans are grievously suffering by the tens of millions all over the world, but who can imagine relief agencies endorsing systematic euthanasia as an acceptable policy. A vastly different ethic applies for companion animals, however, and most of our movement remains silent.”


“Deciding that death for other beings is preferable to a risk-filled life is not euthanasia in its traditional form, but rather a lethal manifestation of speciesism that projects our own fears and values onto another species, and then proclaims – as though we were omniscient gods – that death is our loving “gift” to them.”


“A recent issue of the leading shelter publication spared no effort in denigrating progressive programs to support feral cats. The thrust of this dogmatic criticism was that euthanasia is preferable to neuter-and release programs, claiming such programs expose ferals to the risk of “terrifying lives and tragic deaths.” Here again, we see the “kill, kill, kill” mentality – arrogantly presuming that certain death is a kinder fate for ferals than uncertain life. How ironic, as Thoreau pointed out, that the most desperate lives are lived quietly by humans, and yet no one is euthanizing us for our own protection!”


“During the past few years, I have witnessed more anger from the Shelter Establishment directed at critics than the grotesque slaughter, and this sorrowful lack of priority and proportion is indicative of a malignancy in the soul of our movement.”

The thing is, he wrote that back in 1990.  It’s 2012 and they still don’t get it.

If you are from Virginia, please join Alley Cat Allies, No Kill advocates, and some of the best-performing shelters in the country in voicing your support for S.B. 359, which clarifies that TNR is not prohibited in Virginia by clicking here.

Jan 29 2012

Truth in advertising

Valerie Hayes

Which is more humane, crate training or killing and dumping? Which is more consistent with the concept of animal rights?

Ten out of ten pets surveyed indicated that they would prefer crate training to a ride in the PETA death van. Ten out of ten pets surveyed would prefer eating treats bought at the Piggly Wiggly over being thrown dead into the dumpster behind the Piggly Wiggly.

Apparently, opposing No Kill shelter reforms isn’t crazy enough for them, the wingnuts at PETA also find it necessary to show how little they know about the care of pets that are actually, you know, still breathing, that they are campaigning against the use of crates.  Above is an actual PETA ad that has been edited for truthfulness.

Nov 13 2011

The ASPCA: Too big to care?

Valerie Hayes
ASPCAPro logo

Whose voice are they?

Two years ago, the ASPCA killed Oreo, the abused ‘miracle dog’ whose survival story had inspired so many people to get out their checkbooks and send in donations.  Last week, they gave us a glimpse of what they do for an encore by posting some rather incriminating documents in the worst hiding place ever invented.

Two documents in particular precipitated responses from Extremists here, there, and everywhere.   In case you missed it, “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda” and “Engaging Public Officials” appeared briefly on the ASPCAPro website, the mission of which is:

To provide tools and resources for animal welfare professionals.

Once again caught with their pants down, they have proceeded to ignore some very fundamental issues.  There has been no apology, no press release, only a lame reply on Facebook.  In the interests of burying this issue and in appearing to respond while not substantively responding, the ASPCA did not issue the reply as its own free-standing post, much less a press release, but relegated it to a comment on another post, hiding it from most potential donors.  Pertinent questions from advocates remain unanswered.

I guess there is such a thing as bad publicity.

ASPCAPro Crisis Response 1

What passes for an official response, part 1. Click to enlarge.

ASPCAPro Crisis Response 2

What passes for an official response, part 2. Click to enlarge.


ASPCAPro Crisis Response 3

What passes for an official response, part 3. Click to enlarge.


ASPCAPro Crisis Response 4

What passes for an official response, part 4. Click to enlarge.


ASPCAPro Crisis Response 5

What passes for an official response, part 5. Click to enlarge.


‘Round and ‘round it goes…

I used to live near the ASPCA’s home turf of New York City, and I’ve known the ugly reality hidden behind the cute calendars for many years—since the early-mid 1980s, to be more precise, when I first heard the parable of the accountant and the veterinarian*, which I recounted in a previous article about the ASPCA’s opposition to Oreo’s Law.

The ASPCA has long been a nice comfortable killing machine.  It’s really quite amazing how times have changed and not changed…

An accountant was visiting his client, a veterinarian who worked for the ASPCA in addition to his private practice. In fact, he seemed to spend a lot more hours at the ASPCA than he devoted to his private practice, even though they weren’t paying him all that much. The accountant was at the vet’s office wrestling the books into some semblance of order and a very friendly dog with a badly scarred and misshapen head came galumphing over to be petted, and the accountant obliged him. The dog was friendly to the point of making a pest of himself by attempting to be an oversized lap dog. The accountant shooed him away so that he could get some work done. He could hear the clop-clop of the dog’s paws on the floor as he went down the hall, around a corner, and back up another hall to reappear at the opposite door of the office he was working in, with a look on his scarred face that said “Hi, I’m a different dog than the one that was just here a minute ago, pet me too”.

The dog had come to reside temporarily at the vet’s office as a result of the vet’s work for the ASPCA. He’d come in as a badly injured stray. Someone had apparently beaten him and he had multiple fractures to his skull, which the vet, who is well-respected for his considerable skills as a surgeon, had spent hours in surgery wiring back together. He practically donated some very fancy surgery to them because that’s the kind of person he is. They wanted to kill the dog after all that–”a friendly dog who wouldn’t win any beauty contests”, as the accountant described him. The vet removed the dog from their custody instead. The accountant told the vet that while he admired the work he did on behalf of this dog and other animals at the ASPCA, it was his responsibility as accountant to advise him to leave the ASPCA and concentrate on his private practice, and frankly, he couldn’t understand why he took that kind of abuse from them, and for so little money. The vet’s reply was impossible to argue with: 

“The animals need me.”

One protector in the killing machine was better than nothing at all. I can’t imagine how he did it for as long as he did. The tradition of killing animals for being there and abusing those who would do otherwise is a long one there. I am perpetually amazed at people who see it as a benevolent place. Apparently their marketing has done its job, but it would take a lot more than some nice packaging to remove the image of that dog my father described so vividly and what the ASPCA wanted to do to him, and to the vet.

I hadn’t thought of that dog in years, but recent events have made him restless. He’s been making his circuit down the hall, around the corner, and up the other hall, to reappear at the opposite door. Always the same question:

“Will it be different this time?”

When will it ever be different?

How long can a stagnant and retrograde organization maintain a positive public image (and a steady stream of donations) held together by cognitive dissonance and an aggressive ad campaign, in the face of rapidly changing times?


The last picture of Oreo.

The last picture of Oreo.

*Shortly after the events described therein took place.  At that time, the ASPCA held the animal control contracts for New York City.  The contracts have been held by the NYCACC since its creation in 1995 by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Nov 9 2011

The ASPCA and the case of the extremely elusive documents

Valerie Hayes
Screenshot of ASPCAPro webpage 11/8/11 AM

The ASPCAPro webpage as it appeared before certain extremely embarrassing documents were made to disappear. Click to enlarge.

Until Tompkins County became the first No Kill community in U.S. history, No Kill was said to be impossible. When other communities followed suit, it became probable. When we cross the tipping point, it will become inevitable. 

~Nathan Winograd, from “On Leadership


Yesterday morning, a friend emailed me a couple of links that she’d seen the ASPCA was promoting on Facebook and in email blasts.  Of particular note was a document entitled “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda.”  I am so taken with it that I will quote it in its entirety, in addition to linking to a pdf.

Here it is:

The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda
Step 1: Establishing a Proxy

A member of a community will begin to adopt the talking points of the Extremist Agenda, using aggressive and divisive language to describe the state of that community’s animal welfare organizations.

Step 2: Creating a Local Organization

The proxy forms an organization (i.e. “No Kill Austin/Louisville/Houston/Philly) that will act as the local brand for the Extremist Agenda and begin to use social networking to expand.

Step 3: Engaging in Local Politics

The no-kill organization lobbies local public officials and candidates regarding the existing euthanasia rates at the municipal shelter. In most cases, there does exist public attention to the need to reform the sheltering system to increase lifesaving.

• The proxy organization will get involved in local elections, providing questionnaires and financial support to candidates perceived as sympathetic to the Extremist Agenda.

Step 4: Slandering Existing Animal Welfare

The Extremist Agenda slanders the existing shelter director and any local humane organization that is deemed to be sympathetic to the status quo. The aim of the slander is to put enough pressure on the director to step down (which is often achieved).

Step 5: Installing a Puppet Regime

A new “compassionate” director sympathetic to the Extremist Agenda is put in place through effective lobbying. The Extremist Agenda organization will often advocate a candidate with little or no experience who will essentially do as they are told.

Step 6: Saving Face when the Agenda Fails

The Extremist Agenda displaces blame when the program becomes unsustainable by blaming either their own director or local public officials for not backing them sufficiently.

Step 7: Slandering Media

Attacking unfavorable media is commonplace for the Extremist Agenda when a story runs that questions any component of implementing overnight solutions while demonizing hardworking animal welfare organizations.

I am nonplussed once again.  I didn’t think I could be, but I am.  I love the First Amendment.  It’s my favorite.  Why are they trying to make it seem so–dirty?  And, holy crap!  Somebody figured out how to channel Senator Joe McCarthy!

Are you a citizen concerned about abuse and killing at your local animal shelter (paid for with your tax dollars and/or donations)?  The ASPCA calls you a ‘proxy’.  Do you believe that shelters should implement the No Kill Equation, saving 90+% of all homeless pets in the community?  According to the ASPCA, you are a proponent of the dreaded “Extremist Agenda.”  Do you speak the truth about the abuse and killing at your local “shelter”?  Do you call out killing apologists?  According to the ASPCA, you are committing slander, being divisive, and demonizing.  According to the ASPCA, a compassionate shelter director committed to the No Kill Equation is a puppet and needs to be corralled within scare quotes.

According to the ASPCA, “In most cases, there does exist public attention to the need to reform the sheltering system to increase lifesaving.”  So, what’s the bigger problem to them—the fact that so-called shelters kill needlessly and spitefully (as when rescue is en route) and abuse animals in the process, or the fact that this reckless irresponsibility and malice is making its way into the public eye?

Plus, all of their name-calling combined with their admonitions against slander and divisiveness would be comical if they didn’t perpetuate tragedy after tragedy.

I noticed that the ASPCA name and logo were conspicuously absent from these documents.  Why would they leave that stuff off?  Deniability?  The document properties for “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda” indicate that it was created on October 4, 2010, so apparently, it has been making the rounds behind the scenes for over a year prior to yesterday’s little indiscretion.  Another disappearing document, “Engaging Public Officials” was created on October 5, 2010.

Before the day was out, the ASPCA realized that it had done something extremely stupid and pulled two of the more incriminating documents from its website.   The link that led to “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda,” now yields only  an error message.

All that is left of "The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda" and "Engaging Public Officials" on the ASPCAPro website.

All that is left of the Extremist Agenda" and "Engaging Public Officials" on the ASPCAPro website.

But the internet being what it is, once the proverbial lolcat is out of the bag, it’s on more hard drives than you can count and it ain’t going back in.

Mission Orange kitteh wants you to STFU

Mission Orange kitteh wants you to STFU

When I first saw these webpages, I had a feeling that they might not be long for this world, so I took the screenshot at the top of this post for posterity and downloaded “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda” and “The Psychology of Attacks and Attackers”  (I got a particular charge out of their effort to create a perception of a ‘slippery slope’ whereby the presentation of legitimate concerns becomes a verbal ‘attack’ and segues into ‘violence’.  Smarmy, smarmy, smarmy.   Never mind that these people commit actual violence every time they kill an animal.)  I also downloaded “Engaging Public Officials.” I wasn’t the only Extremist No Kill advocate  who did.  John Sibley also preserved “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda”  and “Engaging Public Officials” for your entertainment.  He’s an extremely civic-minded dude.

It’s worth having a look at the remaining links on the “Tools for Humane Discourse” page while they last.  Try not to get whiplash from all the irony.

Let’s Get It Done” contains the telling statement, “We stand to lose something even more valuable than votes – the public’s money and time.”  I thought I’d highlight that statement because it is one of the only ones in the whole lot that is both honest and truthful.  I’m extremely helpful that way.

If your sense of humor is sufficiently warped, you might enjoy the “Pledge for Humane Discourse” almost as much as I did.  Upon scanning the list of signatories who pledged:

We the undersigned individuals and organizations, in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), reject and condemn verbal abuse, threats, and acts of violence directed against animal welfare personnel. There is no place in the humane movement for physical or verbal intimidation, violence, or acts of terrorism.

Such behavior is wholly inconsistent with a core ethic of promoting compassion and respect, and undermines the credibility of the entire animal welfare movement. Our goal must be to affirm the value and integrity of all life, whether animal or human, and to encourage others to do likewise. Verbal attacks, threats, harassment, defamation, and acts of violence, moreover, do not ultimately help animals. Instead, they eliminate opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and cooperation, making our shared goals, including that of ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals, harder to achieve. A free and respectful exchange of views in the ongoing national conversation about animal welfare practices, including animal sheltering practices, is the standard to which humane organizations and communities should aspire and adhere.

We call on every animal welfare group and advocate to join us in actively promoting compassion and respect not just for animals but for those people who work tirelessly on their behalf. Please pledge your commitment by adding your name below.

A few names jumped out at me—

Killing apologists find plenty of room “in the humane movement for physical or verbal intimidation, violence, or acts of terrorism” when they are the ones doing the intimidating, which is one reason why we have National Animal Shelter Reform Week.  I’d like to thank the ASPCA for inadvertently adding to this week’s revelry.

Proponents of the Extremist Agenda  Animal-lovers and No Kill advocates should, most of all, view this episode as a sign that we have gained enough ground that killing apologists  (even those with literally over $100 million at their disposal) regard the current situation as a crisis and are starting to (pardon the non-vegan metaphor) run around like a bunch of chickens with their heads chopped off.  A crisis is, by definition, a dynamic situation—danger mixed with opportunity.  (They’re in danger of being exposed for what they are—people and organizations who value money and power over the lives of animals; and we have the opportunity to make “shelters” into real shelters.   They have the opportunity to change and get on board with the Extremist Agenda lifesaving; and we are in danger of being labeled “extremists” and subjected to various and sundry other nastiness.)  It is heady, exciting, exhausting and the time when real leaders emerge.  It means we are at, or very near, the tipping point.

The old ‘catch and kill’ monolith is showing its cracks.   It’s up to us to replace it with a new, extremely life-affirming paradigm.

“I don’t think these documents make our job harder; I think they make our job easier,” said Ryan Clinton of Fix Austin, one of the groups the disappearing ASPCA documents referred to specifically as ‘extremist’.    “Any time you get a hold of the other side’s ‘talking points,’ it destroys their credibility with public officials and media.  I particularly love the line that says “Public officials who are leaning in the Extremist direction need to be handled cautiously.””

I am extremely grateful for that.